Cheers all round as village pub is saved

Phil Collins, front left, and residents who have joined forces to raise more than £110,000 to save The Seven Stars in Marsh Baldon. Picture: OX56587 Ric Mellis

Locals gather at the pub in 1860

First published in Wallingford Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by

WHEN a village pub closed, its small community was determined to save their social hub.

Villagers refused to call time on The Seven Stars pub in Marsh Baldon – which is more than 350 years old.

And 76 of the several hundred residents have raised more than £110,000 through pledges ranging from a minimum £300. One resident even put up £20,000.

Together they have formed a company called The Baldons and Nuneham Community Society Limited and, with the buying process under way, an experienced landlord is needed to run the business.

It is planned society members will get two per cent interest on their money for 20 years, after which their stake will be returned.

Any profits will be ploughed back into other community projects.

Management committee member Phil Collins said: “This pub is a part of history and is the hub, not only of Marsh Baldon, but the villages around it.

“We don’t want to run the pub ourselves – we recognise that takes time and expertise that we don’t have.

“We want to lease it to a professional, to run as a thriving business.”

Mr Collins, 52, a management consultant and father of two, added: “The Seven Stars has been very successful in the past and we are sure it can be in the future.”

The pub, which is being sold for £275,000, will reopen in February.

Current owner, local businessman David Harding, who founded London investment company Winton Capital Management, is lending villagers the rest of the money.

Mr Harding has owned the free house for more than two years after buying it from pub company Admiral Taverns. He closed it in November.

His spokesman Robin Eggar said: “It is about saving the pub for the community. He is an investment manager, not a pub owner and thinks that the pub will be better served by the community for the community’s needs.”

Mr Collins added: “We are pretty convinced if a landlord comes in and if it is what the village wants – which is a lively local pub, with great value British food, that gets in-volved in village life – then there is a viable and successful pub there.”

He added of the campaign: “It has fostered a real spirit of community generosity that is a fantastic thing in this day and age.”

Comments (4)

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7:18pm Mon 14 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

What brilliant news. With the pub at the other Baldon being turned into a poshy wine bar, well done to all concerned for saving a real pub. Good luck.
What brilliant news. With the pub at the other Baldon being turned into a poshy wine bar, well done to all concerned for saving a real pub. Good luck. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Mon 14 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

P.S. To all in South Hinksey. This is how it is done, you put your hands in your pockets, and not some silly "lets all come to your house for a drink pretense of trying to open a pub" Again, well done to all Marsh Baldon residents. You are an example to all of the moaning minnies who are pictured in the OM who think it is easier to get publicity than to actually DO something.
P.S. To all in South Hinksey. This is how it is done, you put your hands in your pockets, and not some silly "lets all come to your house for a drink pretense of trying to open a pub" Again, well done to all Marsh Baldon residents. You are an example to all of the moaning minnies who are pictured in the OM who think it is easier to get publicity than to actually DO something. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

9:03am Tue 15 Jan 13

EMBOX2 says...

Good news! A good manager makes all the difference - get decent food at sensible prices, a good range of ales and no pool table or anything like that, and the punters will come.

If you're feeling really brave, build your own brewery in the pub....
Good news! A good manager makes all the difference - get decent food at sensible prices, a good range of ales and no pool table or anything like that, and the punters will come. If you're feeling really brave, build your own brewery in the pub.... EMBOX2
  • Score: 0

11:03am Tue 15 Jan 13

King Joke says...

I think that's a little unfair Grunden. In the case of South Hinksey, the brewery simply isn't interested in re-opening the pub. Even if people in the surrounding area could raise £110k, the brewery still wouldn't sell as they know they can get more selling the building to a property developer.

Good news about Marsh Baldon though, well done guys.
I think that's a little unfair Grunden. In the case of South Hinksey, the brewery simply isn't interested in re-opening the pub. Even if people in the surrounding area could raise £110k, the brewery still wouldn't sell as they know they can get more selling the building to a property developer. Good news about Marsh Baldon though, well done guys. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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